There is a distinction between coaching someone through teaching them techniques and providing them with structure and accountability so they can achieve more of their goals, and with coaching someone through teaching them about the spiritual context of how their experience is created. With the first approach it appears obvious how it would support greater levels of success in the world. With the second, it isn’t so clear how it fosters a higher level of achievement, but in my experience it is the far more effective method for igniting authentic, sustainable success.
It is the difference between teaching someone to fish so they can eat for a lifetime, and introducing them to the infinite nature of their soul so they can live into their true potential which may have nothing to do with fishing. From this vantage point they see they can experience the innate qualities of their True Nature independent of their circumstances — fish or no fish. This always brings out the best in people. Their success then becomes effortless because they are just being themselves without the weight of their insecure thinking bogging them down.
Sydney Banks, a Scottish welder living in British Columbia, Canada, had an enlightenment experience in 1973. From this, he saw that human experience is created by thought. Thoughts creating feelings is not front page news now, but it was a novel concept in the ‘70s with the dominance of emotionally driven psychology and personal development seminars, but Banks saw beyond the fact that our feelings reflect what we believe. He also saw that our human capacity to think is a divine gift.
The fact of thought is neutral. It is a divine gift from which we all create our reality consciously and unconsciously. The capacity of thought points to the innate intelligence of life that flows through each one of us and is never good or bad — it just is. It is an intelligence that flows through us, but is not us. The capacity to experience this innate intelligence increases as our consciousness awakes to our True Nature. We know when we are experiencing our True Nature when we experience the qualities of wisdom, peace, joy, equanimity, love, compassion, and empathy.
Sydney Banks taught that through understanding how our experience is created, the content of our thinking and the subsequent feeling experience have less of a grip on us, and when we recognize the illusory and temporary nature of our thoughts and moment to moment experience, it is easier to experience our True Nature. From this understanding, there is no effort required to experience our Authentic Self. It is our natural state, and we have simply innocently created conditioned thinking that temporarily gets in the way of us experiencing it. As a result, we mistakenly think that our thoughts and feelings are real, and allow them to drive our behavior.
For example, if I have a habit of thinking insecure thoughts, I will feel insecure. If I don’t understand that my insecure feelings are coming from subjective thoughts that aren’t true, I am likely to assume that I am an insecure person and that my natural state is insecurity. I will use my emotional experience and mental misinterpretations to define myself. I will then create results in my life that reflect my beliefs.
I have lived this out in my own life. For example, for a long time, I believed that I needed to earn my worth through working hard and being successful. This served me well as a student where I was very competent and able to get straight As, but it left me floundering when I spent some time in the world of modeling. I didn’t know how to work hard at modeling. I entered a world where effort didn’t equal results, and following the rules didn’t provide a clear path to success. There were too many variables that I was not in control of.
I was successful as a model, but not because of anything I did, and even with my success, I felt insecure. I felt more insecure while modeling because I didn’t have my coping mechanism of hard work to distract me from my insecure thinking. While at college, I convinced myself that if I worked hard I could attempt to earn my worth and feel valuable. While modeling, I had none of this to fall back on. So I lived with my insecure thoughts up close and personally. As a result, I felt anxious and depressed much of the time. I didn’t realize what was going on so I blamed it on the English weather and acerbic culture.
If I had the benefit of traditional coaching during that time, we would have found ways for me to work hard at modeling. There certainly could have been exercise and nutrition regimes to follow. There could have been additional promotional marketing to do. I could have created goals to reach and analytics to measure. I certainly could have shmoozed more with editors, and gone to the right parties, and befriended the “in” people. This may have given me temporary relief, but none of this would have addressed the fundamental insecure thinking that was causing my suffering.
I may have felt less insecure because I found a way to keep myself busy and be distracted from my insecure thoughts, but they would have come back. They would have still been running in the background of my awareness, taking energy and driving my behavior. You could say, “Well clearly coaching isn’t for someone with those kind of issues. What you needed is therapy.” Well, I did participate in therapy. Some of the most unhelpful therapy in my life. In fact, I think the therapist actually had a strong dislike for me. But even if I had seen a good therapist, we would have focused on identifying the negative thoughts and learned skills to interrupt them. I would have been spending my life trying to manage my thinking.
We have 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day. Trying to manage thinking is disastrously exhausting especially when you are already feeling depressed and anxious. It may have given me temporary relief because I could have engaged my coping mechanism of working hard, but I would have worked myself into the ground as I had many times in my life before. In fact, modeling was the perfect thing for me to do because I couldn’t use my old coping mechanism of workaholism and instead, had to sit with myself. This was very uncomfortable. I thought this meant that I was really messed up, but really all it pointed to was that I had a lot of negative habitual thoughts that I believed to be true.
That is why I now coach clients through teaching them about the spiritual context and how they create their experience. It does not matter what area of life my clients want to experience more success. When they see that their stress and suffering is being innocently generated internally through their divine gift of thought, they then have the leverage to choose how they focus this divine gift. They are better able to dismiss the anxious, insecure thoughts not because they are managing their thinking, but because they genuinely see there is no pay off to focusing on them and only suffering is created when these thoughts are fueled by attention. They also recognize that their natural state is to feel good and to experience the innate expansiveness of their True Nature. Success is a natural byproduct of this whether it be at home, on the soccer pitch, in the board room, or on the catwalks of Milan.